UCL Department of Geography


Fawcett Fellowships

New UCL Geography Alliance - Fawcett Fellowships added to Fawcett Fellowship scheme.

In 1987 Edith Fawcett endowed annual Fellowships in the Department of Geography at UCL in memory of her father, Professor C B Fawcett, who was head of the department between 1928 and 1949. The Fellowships were originally designed to enable UK-based teachers and other professional geographers in mid-career to spend a sabbatical term studying at UCL. The teaching Fellows continued to be paid their full salary and the scheme funded replacement geography teaching.

It has proved difficult to attract Fellowship applications in recent years. It seems that pressures on school teachers' time have discouraged participation in the 'sabbatical term' model. Applications for such Fellowships nevertheless remain welcome (see 'Mode A' below).

In 2018, however, a new collaborative scheme was introduced with the UCL Institute of Education - the UCL Geography Alliance-Fawcett Fellowships.

This has two components:

  1.  UCL Geography Fawcett 'Twilight Workshops' on current developments in geography relevant to the GCSE and A-Level specifications. These will be open to all interested teachers and held regularly in late afternoon sessions, either as Zoom-based presentations or in UCL Geography, Gower Street, London WC1. For details, contact Dr James Kneale at j.kneale@ucl.ac.uk.
  2.  UCL Fawcett Fellowships (Mode B): Each year a number of these will be available to mid-career teachers who wish to carry out work on curriculum planning with UCL Institute of Education/UCL Geography staff.  Supported financially from Fawcett funds and awarded competitively, the Fellowships will normally be held for one year, starting in September. Those interested should contact Dr Alex Standish, in the IoE: a.standish@ucl.ac.uk before the 7th of July 2024. See application details below

Meanwhile, applications remain welcome for:

Mode A: Sabbatical Term for mid-career geography teachers

During their sabbatical, based in UCL, applicants are encouraged to develop their own plan of work, for example bringing themselves up-to-date with aspects of the discipline, exploring new teaching fields, developing new skills, or preparing new teaching materials. Fellows have full access to the library and IT resources at UCL, and to the expertise of its geography staff in both the Geography Department and the UCL Institute of Education. The aim is that they should return to their permanent jobs refreshed and ready to stimulate others.

Around 50 such Fellows have so far been supported under this scheme. They have usually attended some UCL Geography lectures and classes relevant to their interests, conferring with the lecturers to adapt the material to their needs. Some have concentrated on updating and acquiring new information and skills; others have written material for new courses and modules, including field classes, sometimes based in London. At least one textbook was completed during a Fellowship and several articles have been written for geographical journals.

The Fellowship thus provides a unique opportunity for personal and professional development. Fellows have also advised the UCL department in relation to its first-year courses, sometimes participating in its induction course for new students, sitting in on tutorials and observing UCAS Open Days. The potential for such involvement is wide.

The funds are sufficient to finance teaching cover during the four-month period of each Fellowship, which is normally September to Christmas but could be from New Year to Easter.


Support in principle for a Fellowship application should first be sought from your school head, on the understanding that your full teaching salary would be continued, and that the Fund would cover the reasonable costs of replacement geography teaching. There are no standard application forms.

Enquiries are welcome at any time, but because the arrangement of school release may take some time, letters of interest, including an outline plan of how you wish to use the Fellowship and a brief curriculum vitae, should be sent as early as possible. Suitable applicants will be invited to interview in late April/early May, with Fellowships awarded on the basis of the quality of the work plans, including their value to personal and professional development.

Enquiries and applications should be directed to Dr James Kneale, who can supply further details of the scheme. He can be contacted at the Department of Geography, UCL, 26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP or by email at j.kneale@ucl.ac.uk.

Mode B: UCL Fawcett Fellowships

We will join a group of dedicated teaching professionals with experience in curriculum making and spend the year reading, debating, sharing and learning about how to build a quality geography curriculum for your students. 

How you will spend the year:

  1. Engagement with curriculum theory and research, general pedagogy and geography education specifically. 
  2. Share curriculum planning and resources and learn from other curriculum leaders. 
  3. Deepen your understanding of how to design and make your geography curriculum. 
  4. Learn how to implement ways to embed epistemic quality in geography curricula. 
  5. Network with the wider geography education community through UCL, online and subject association conferences. 

You will take a hybrid approach to the fellowship, meeting at the IOE for at least one afternoon per term, with other sessions online. Fellows will have access to a budget of up to £1000 to support their participation in the fellowship and to spend on professional development (e.g. books, conference participation). To apply, you will need the support of your SLT and commitment to take part in 2-3 sessions per term, and be interested in reading about curriculum theory and practice. 

Applications for the fellowship should be sent to Dr Standish/Dr Kneale by July 7thand comprise:

  • Written statement about your curricular aims and plans for the year ahead (500-800 words)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Letter of reference from a line manager/SLT, including approval for participation in the fellowship programme (include release time for meetings).